Entitlement Enlightenment

I have been back at my old job cashiering for three months now, home from college for the summer.  And in these three months I have dealt with more cranky and rude customers than I probably did in the year that I worked this job before going away to college.  And can I just say that I’m sick of it?

I live in a pretty nice town.  We’re not all super rich, but in general, we have enough to live comfortably.  Enough to cause a sense of entitlement.

While Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a lovely depiction, I, unfortunately, cannot in good conscience say that it is just the young people who have grown up with each new gadget or gizmo coming out every two months or the so-called “entitlement generation,” which according to dictionary.com is “the group born between 1979 and 1994 who believe they are owed certain rights and benefits without further justification” (people who are (at maximum!) 36 years old).  Oh no, it’s people even older than that too!  People in their fifties!

Just last weekend I was attending the self check-out at the grocery store where I work.  This woman somewhere around 40 and 50 came in.  She mumbled something to me about the cream puffs they had on display near the self check-out.  I think she first asked whether they were from the State Fair or not, and once I told her that no, we actually make them in-store, she proceeded to say that the ones at State Fair are better.  After that, she went on her way to do her shopping.  Some fifteen minutes later, she returned to check out on one of the self check-out machines, all the meanwhile, I was attending them and performing all of the duties that that entails (checking I.D.s for liquor purchases, voiding off the 300 cabbages that one lady accidentally charged herself…).  It was then that I noticed a bag sitting just off of the self check-out that the aforementioned cream puff lady was using.  I hadn’t noticed it there before and had no idea where it had come from; people routinely leave things near the self check-out when they use the restrooms or sometimes even forget things there when they exit the store.  So I went over to investigate, just brushing my hand inside enough to see that there was a receipt, when this lady snaps at me: “Excuse me!  Do you mind?  That’s my bag!”  I apologized to the lady, explaining that I didn’t know where the bag had come from and wanted to make sure that I got it to the person it belonged to.  “No, you just wanted to see what’s in my bag!” the lady snapped (pretty suspicious, if you ask me.  If you’re buying stuff from our store, what does it matter if I see what’s in your bag?  I digress.).

A few minutes later this same lady called me over because she had coupons that I needed to ring up for her.  I had to check that one of her items matched the coupon because the coupon was not scanning properly.  She had the right product, so I had to “price modify” the item in the computer to make it match the sale price on the coupon; this involves voiding off the item for original price and then modifying it to the sale price.  “I hope you’re not overcharging me for that!  I’ve just seen you scan that four times!” she says to me.  And so, with as much patience as I had (more than I expected… I suppose that the people-pleaser in me was really trying to make up for making her angry about the bag), I explained to her what I was doing in order to give her the coupon price.  As she finished up her order, I stood a little way away where I always stand so that I have a good view of all four self check-out machines (it was at a peak time of the day when all four machines were in use), and I could hear her muttering to herself about how she was still at the store messing around with the stupid machines.  I consciously made sure that I had given this lady enough room to leave her machine and head for the door, knowing that when it was time for her to do so, she wouldn’t be thrilled if she perceived that I was in her way.  All in vain though, for as I bid her a nice evening in a last stitch effort to kill her with kindness, she mumbled something along the lines of “Move out of the way, fat ass!”

I was absolutely dumbfounded.  Here was a woman at least twice my age acting like a spoiled teenager.  That night when I told Jeavoi about it over Skype, she pointed out that this woman basically stole a line from Mean Girls!

And recently, my other co-workers on the front end have been complaining of similar things.  And usually, it’s the older people they’re complaining about!

When did we turn into a society where no one cares about anyone else?  Where everything is all about “me”?  Where we don’t have consideration for another’s thoughts or feelings?

I’m just over the whole entitlement thing.  I’m over people justifying their entitlement with more entitlement.

-Enjouée

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